Cry Of Love
02. Drifting (3:46)
03. Ezy Ryder (4:09)
04. Night Bird Flying (3:50)
05. My Friend (4:40)
06. Straight Ahead (4:42)
07. Astro Man (3:37)
08. Angel (4:25)
09. In From the Storm (3:42)
10. Belly Button Window (3:34)
Jimi Hendrix / guitars, bass, piano, lead & backing vocals
Billy Cox / bass
Mitch Mitchell / drums
Buzzy Linhart / vibraphone (2)
Kenny Pine / 12-string guitar (5)
Stephen Stills / piano (5)
Paul Caruso "Gers" / harmonica (5)
Noel Redding / bass (5)
Buddy Miles / drums & backing vocals (3)
Jimmy Mayes / drums (5)
Juma Sultan / congas (1,3), percussion (3,4,7)
Billy Armstrong / percussion (3)
The Ghetto Fighters / backing vocals (1)
Steve Winwood / backing vocals (3)
Chris Wood / backing vocals (3)
Emeretta Marks / backing vocals (9)
Jimi Hendrix released four albums during his lifetime – three with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and one with The Band Of Gypsys. Those were released between 1967 and 1970. However, he was always recording - he had his own studio – and worked on ideas until untimely death in September 1970. And some of these ideas were fully completed and arranged songs by then. Now much as I love “Electric Ladyland” & “Band Of Gypsys” they are mostly jams – these were proper songs Jimi had been working on – “Are You Experienced?” & “Axis: Bold As Love” his first two Jimi Hendrix Experience albums both were song based. These new songs were different though, perhaps more politically aware and far less psychedelic. It is often stated how huge an influence Hendrix was on Arthur Lee, but Arthur was already a brilliant songwriter before he worked with Jimi – perhaps it was a two-way thing.
Hendrix was working on a proposed double album – “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” – there are rough track lists. It is also possible there was to be another album called “People, Hell & Angels” (not the album that came out in 2013!) So lots of stuff. In fact in 1997 a CD was released of the attempt to try and construct the album in line with Jimi Hendrix’s wishes and its great.
However, back in 1971 due to the heavy demand for his music following Hendrix’s death an album was released that many consider the finest posthumous album ever and that is “The Cry Of Love”. It contained 10 tracks and was put together by producer and engineer, Eddie Kramer who had worked with Jimi Hendrix for some time and Mitch Mitchell – drummer with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and later the band Hendrix had at the time of his death. There was input from Michael Jeffrey but he did not spoil anything. Half the tracks were complete and the rest needed some work but “The Cry Of Love” is considered as much a proper Jimi Hendrix album as, say, “Electric Ladyland”. Both Kramer & Mitchell knew what Jimi Hendrix wanted.
So what happened to “The Cry Of Love”? Well, all the tracks ended up on “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” And before that, the Alan Douglas produced and played about with – “Voodoo Soup”. “The Cry Of Love” was almost forgotten. It had not been available for years.
But in the last year or so, vinyl albums have made a huge comeback and never an organisation to miss the opportunity to milk the cash cow; Experience Hendrix reissued it via Sony Records. It also came out on CD, which I got. Why? – after all I have all the tracks. Well, the new version uses the 1971 mixes and track listing and art work so it is worth having - it doesn’t detract from Jimi Hendrix’s legacy, rather restores an important part of it and is also a fitting memorial to the great Mitch Mitchell and the genius of Eddie Kramer (who fortunately is still with us). By the way, Jeffrey died in a plane crash in 1973.
OK – so that is the background to “The Cry Of Love” and why its reissue is so welcome.
What about the album itself?
The musicians beside Hendrix – who I assume you know is one of the greatest guitarists ever, were Mitchell and Billy Cox who played bass. Elsewhere Buddy Miles from Band of Gypsys plays drums on “Ezy Rider” (Hendrix’s tribute to the film) and Noel Redding - from The Jimi Hendrix Experience - plays bass on “My Friend”. In fact “My Friend” was recorded as early as 1968 which means it probably was not intended for “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” but its bar room atmosphere works and it is a fine track to close what was Side 1. Juma Sultan plays percussion on three of the tracks – he was at Woodstock with Hendrix and elsewhere Steve Winwood and Chris Wood from Traffic crop up on backing vocals and Stephen Stills played piano on “My Friend”. However, “The Cry Of Love” is not an album completed by famous friends rather it is mostly the work of Hendrix, Cox & Mitchell.
“Angel” was covered by Rod Stewart – he did a good job, but Hendrix’s version is far superior – his guitar playing throughout is brilliant but so is his singing. The opening “Freedom” is a brilliant way to start an album and the bluesy “Belly Button Window” is a brilliant way to close. It is sung from the point of view of a baby waiting to be born and looking out on the world. “Drifting” is as its title would imply is dreamy and floats. “Ezy Rider” sums up the rush of the film, without actually having anything to do with it and Arthur Lee later recorded it (although his version was only released years later.)
All the other tracks are great, too, especially “In From The Storm”. Kramer, Mitchell and – OK – Jeffrey – chose very well indeed.
If you have any interest in Jimi Hendrix – and have not got “The First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” or even if you have, “The Cry Of Love” is well worth having and it is great that it is available again. So praise is due to Experience Hendrix. I only hope they do not release any more substandard albums and certainly do not even consider reissuing some of the other posthumous albums from the 1970s
This is the first posthumous studio album from Hendrix and definitely the one that is the closest to what Jimi would have liked to be.
There aren't such overdubbing as during later efforts to revive the memory of this great musician (like Douglas or even his sister will do later on). What we have here is almost the album as it would have been released if Jimi would have been still alive.
Most of the titles were achieved, even if some did receive a small edition work; but nothing exaggerated. Like a new drum play during ''Drifting''. Lots of tracks featured here already had a serious life during concerts and can be therefore considered as totally legitimate of his work (''Freedom', ''Easy Ryder'') and to a lesser extent ''Straight Ahead'' and ''In From the Storm''.
One of my fave track on this ''Cry Of Love'' is the fine rock ballad ''Angel''. Some sort of post ''Hey Joe'' kind of tune, full of emotion during the vocal parts (one of his best IMO) it is all sweetness and peace of mind.
I would recommend this album to any Hendrix fan of course, but not only. It is a good release that fully respect the view of the artist before his death. Mitchell did a lot of work to release this album as such (along with Kramer of course).